Mavis! is the first feature-length documentary on gospel/soul music legend and civil rights icon Mavis Staples and her family group, the Staple Singers. From the delta-inflected gospel sound she helped pioneer in the 1950s, to the “message songs” of the civil rights era marching beside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., to massive hits such as “I’ll Take You There” in the soul-filled Stax era, and her recent Grammy-winning work with Wilco’s Jeff Tweedy, Mavis Staples is one of the most influential and enduring vocalists of our time and a true American icon.
With dynamic live performances, rarely-seen archival footage and conversations with friends and collaborators like Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Jeff Tweedy, Levon Helm, Chuck D, Al Bell, Julian Bond, Sharon Jones and more,Mavis! reveals the struggles and successes of her journey. Through a 60-year career crossing music genres and societal shifts, Mavis has managed to transform herself as she goes, yet never alter. She occupies a singular place in American music: a soldier of love and peace whose fight continues. At 75, she’s making the most vital music of her career, and her message of equality is needed now more than ever.
Documentary | Biography | Music
Dir. Jessica Edwards, US, 2015, 80 mins
Cast: Mavis Staples, Adam Ayres, Gene Barge